For Jim (aka Gatoraid)--Nausea

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Hi Jim,

I thought about PMing you, but decided that others might benefit from hearing about my experience.

I had a really rough time after my surgery. I vomited 4, 5, 6, or more times per day—I was a vomiting queen. Pretty much everything I ate came right back up. Cheese sounded good, so I ate some—it came right back up. A milkshake sounded good, so I drank one—it came right back up. About the only thing I could keep down was peanut butter. So at first, everything made me sick. Guess that’s why I lost 70 pounds. Even my feeding tube couldn’t keep up my weight, probably because I wasn’t willing to be tied to it 24 hours a day. Even when I got up in the morning and brushed my teeth, I would vomit, mostly bile, but still I vomited literally all day long. This went on for 2-3 months! I had my feeding tube for 4 months after my surgery.

I was in contact with someone who had undergone the surgery, and he didn’t have these problems. I really began to worry that something was wrong with me. However, every time I went to my doctors, both my surgeon and my oncologist told me it was normal. They said I was simply getting used to my new stomach. Since I totally trusted my team of docs, I didn’t push anything. But was I ever one sick lady. I even bought some air sickness bags to carry with me everywhere I went—that’s how much I vomited!

Eventually, I was able to begin eating some things. First it was chicken—KFC, believe it or not. The nausea and vomiting began to improve slowly. I still made mistakes by eating things that wouldn’t set on my stomach or by eating too much for my new stomach. But the vomiting began to slowly subside—six months after surgery I was down to vomiting only 2-3 times per day, mostly when brushing my teeth.

My tastes totally changed. Chicken was about the only meat I could stomach, and mashed potatoes and mac and cheese were about the only other foods I could eat. I always loved burgers, but I ate one and promptly got sick. Those days finally passed, and you should see me now—I eat burgers, steaks, pizza, Mexican...almost anything I want. Some things have remained different—seafood used to be my favorite food, but now I really don’t care for it anymore. However, having said that, I couldn’t stand to eat any fried vegetables at all. Just 2-3 months ago, I was finally able to eat some of my old favorites—fried okra and fried squash. So even that finally came back, even if it did take 18 months post-op until that happened.

As for the nausea, I still get nauseated pretty easily, but I no longer vomit. In fact, I wish I could vomit, just to get over that nauseated feeling, but it seems that my vomiting days are over. To be honest, sometimes there is no rhyme nor reason as to why something makes me sick. I’ll eat it one day and be fine and then the next time I try it, I’ll get sick. Some things that trigger my sickness are obvious, though, such as super sugary things like candy corn. Mostly, though, nowadays I get sick when I simply overeat or when I try to drink too much liquids with my meals. Things have improved tremendously, and I’ll admit I’m my own worst enemy. When I do get nauseated, it usually lasts for only an hour at the most, then I’m fine again. Just yesterday, when we went out for our celebratory dinner of steak and lobster tails, either I ate too much or the lobster tail didn’t set well with me—I was sick, sick, sick about 15 minutes after eating. By the way, that’s my version of dumping syndrome. I don’t get diarrhea—I get terribly nauseated.

One other thing. I suffered lots of dizziness and light-headedness, but I was on blood pressure meds. I no longer needed those once I lost all that weight. My blood pressure is now normal. Once the doctor pulled me off my bp meds, the dizziness pretty much subsided. I rarely experience that anymore.

I hope my experience was helpful. It sure seems that everyone is different. Hang in there. Things will never be quite the same again, but life is sure good, and I’m enjoying every minute of it.

If I can address any other questions or concerns, let me know. Sorry for such a long post.

Melinda

Comments

  • BMGky
    BMGky Member Posts: 621
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    Thank you for the
    Thank you for the informative post. My husband couldn't throw up, and he experienced significant nausea without relief.

    I'm glad you shared your experiences. It will help those facing the surgery understand they need to plan for a possible roller coaster ride. It also lets them know that there is light at the end of that ride, and your life begins to get a normalcy and every day is a gift.

    My husband still gets stomach upset usually caused by misjudging how much he's eaten or not allowing for food textures. Yet, when he does pay attention, he enjoys his food and eats almost anything he wants. Has backed down on extra spicy foods and doughy breads and the like. Otherwise, the pantry holds all sorts of treasures for him.

    Best wishes for continued joy. BMGky
  • Gatoraid
    Gatoraid Member Posts: 66
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    Thanks for your information
    When I read your post I realized that I had it very easy. I also suffered from nausea but to be honest, both chemo sessions were pretty easy on me. I also carried the blue barf bag for a while, especially for the one hour trips into Boston for radiation and doctor visits.

    One question I had for you..are you on any anti-nausea medicines. So far, all that works for me is Percoset. Nothing else that was tried (Zofran, etc) seems to work. Without the medicine, I am out of commission for a good 2 hours. Since I work and must eat everty 4 hours, I am sick while I am away from home.

    My blood pressure is also lower now and I was also taken off of blood pressure medicine. Since then, the dizzyness is far less frequent and it is mostly light-headedness when I am sick. One problem that I've had lately is that I have fluid on the outside of my lungs on my left side that has put me in the hospital twice because it impacted my breathing. It has been drained but it keeps coming back.

    All in all, it seems from your story that there is slow improvement over time, but that there will always be some minor discomfort at times which is no biggy. For a stage 3 survivor, I consider myself very lucky. My doctors always tell me how well I am doing, and from the stories I have read here, I really cannot complain.

    Thanks for getting back to me and I'm glad that you are doing well. With all the sad stories on this site, it's nice to hear the success stories as well.

    Take care,

    Jim